London for free: central London home swap accommodation

Guardian Home Exchange in Central LondonThis London home swap holiday offer is located on a quiet, residential, tree-lined street on the top floor of an old Edwardian townhouse. This fantastic Guardian Home Exchange offer in central London is located in between Queen’s Park and Maida Vale, both of which are just a 5-10 mins walk. The neighborhood is packed with lovely restaurants, traditional English pubs, bars, cafes, artisan food shops and much much more.

Just up the road is Little Venice, with its canals and traditional pubs. There are two parks nearby, which are a nice place for a stroll at any time of the year. Portobello Road and Notting Hill are only a 20 min walk from the apartment.

Interested? Check out this Guardian Home Exchange offer.

London 2012 Olympics: which events are you going to see?

London Olympic TicketsLondon 2012 Olympic Games organisers have emailed the 700,000 successful ticket applicants to tell them which sports and sessions they have been allocated.

Applicants have known since the beginning of the month how much money has been deducted but Games organisers have waited until today to tell consumers what they paid for.

The mail from London 2012 reads: “Congratulations! You have been allocated some of the greatest tickets on earth!

“This email is from the London 2012 Ticketing team, confirming that your Olympic Games ticket application has now been processed.”

Are you coming to London for the Olympics? Save money and stay in the capital with a home exchange vacation.

Home Exchange in London

Home Exchange during the 2012 Olympics

With tickets for the London Olympics now on sale through the official Olympics site, more and more people are offering their homes for exchange at this time – which is great news for people wishing to visit London during this time but want to avoid the inflated cost of hotels.

Some homes for exchange during the London Olympics:

Home Exchange in Surrey – Quintessential English village set in the heart of the Surrey Hills. A designated area of outstanding natural beauty. A Converted Victorian Mansion into luxury residencies.

Home Exchange in Colchester – Situated on Suffolk/Essex border our new town centre flat has secure parking and entrance. Convenient to all amenities including 50 min direct rail link to Olympics & London.

Home Exchange London – Attractive art deco period semi-detached family house with lovely garden in a quiet street. Situated in Islington, a lively area of inner London, just north of the centre.

Home Swap London – This is a town house in the Bow Quarter complex which has a swimming pool and gym. Located very close to the 2012 Olympic site, you can see the main stadium from the back yard. Close to the hip areas of Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

Home Exchange Hertfordshire – Situated on the outskirts of the historical county town of Hertford. Hertford has many cafes and restaurants and of course a Castle with lovely gardens. We are 5 minutes from a main line station that gets you into London in less than 30 minutes. Cambridge is an hour’s easy drive away.

If you are looking to visit London during the Olympics home exchange makes the perfect choice!

London 2012 Olympic Games tickets go on sale!

Applications for tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games opened on the 15th March for residents of the UK and designated European countries. People can apply any time during the 42-day application period via the London 2012 ticketing website

Preparations for the Olympics are well on course and it looks set to be a fantastic event that will highlight London’s wealth of attractions. Accommodation during this period is already being booked out with prices often at inflated prices. If you’re interested in visiting London during the Olympics why not consider a home exchange vacation!

Arranged a home exchange in London? Budget tips for your visit

London Money Saving IdeasGuest post by Laura Porter

People will always tell you London is an expensive city but I live here with a young family and I’m not a millionaire. Locals know where the deals can be found, and visitors often don’t, so I’m here to share some tips to show you a trip to London can suit anyone’s budget.

I write the About.com London Travel site and the London for Free pages are some of the most popular with ideas from the unusual ceremonies to the many free museums and galleries.

Accommodation and food are usually the biggest part of your vacation budget and by choosing a Home Exchange you have already reduced those costs. Don’t let dining spoil your frugal planning as there are many Budget Restaurants in London and I’ve also got a list of ideas on how to eat in London for under £5.

Walking is an excellent way to get around London and you’ll see so much more but if you need to travel longer distances then make sure you have an Oyster Card, which can be bought before you arrive, as cash fares on tubes and buses are more expensive. There is also daily capping on lots of travel so once you reach the maximum daily fare all your other journeys are free. There’s further good news for families as children travel for free on London transport but you may need to order a photocard in advance.

Then what about London’s West End Shows? You would expect all tickets to be very expensive but I’ve got lots of tips on how to save money on theatre tickets.

If you discover a lot of the attractions you want to visit are not free then consider a sightseeing pass that covers a lot of the biggies so you may want to plan a few days seeing the hard-hitters such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral.

As well as these ideas, I like to have some vouchers printed and in my wallet at all times from Smartsave as they can get you discounts at attractions, restaurants and more. These are great is you want to be spontaneous as you do not need to book in advance for a discount.

There are also great offers to be found on the ‘mob buying’ sites which offer amazing discounts and once enough people commit to buy you all get the deal. My personal favourite is Groupon, but others include KGB Deals, Living Social and Wahanda. Sign up as soon as you know you are coming to London and buy some deals in advance.

I hope you can now see London is not prohibitively expensive; it’s all about knowing where to find the bargains. I hope I’ve managed to start you on the right track here.

Laura Porter lives in London and writes the About.com London Travel site.

Top Money Saving Tips for Visiting London with Children

One of the best ways to save money when visiting London with children is to arrange a home exchange with a London family. And there’s no better place to find a great choice of home swap offers than on Home Base Holidays – a London based service!

Once settled in, there are many ways to cut down on expenses (for a start, you will have a fully equipped kitchen and can prepare some meals and packed lunches ‘at home’). I am now delighted to introduce guest author and Londoner, Janis Curry, who provides valuable tips on making the most of our great city:

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Visiting London? There are some experiences and attractions you really shouldn’t miss, but there is no reason to pay full price. If you plan on visiting The London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Tower of London, London Zoo, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Legoland and other major attractions, we’d highly recommend buying tickets in advance from Attractiontix – they guarantee the lowest prices and they’ll send you an e-ticket right away so you don’t need to worry about your tickets getting lost along the way.

You can buy tickets to individual attractions, but we’d recommend getting a pass (1, 2, 3 or 6 day passes are available) – you’ll save money, even if you only visit one or two attractions per day. With the passes, you also get some extra discounts for London restaurants, free movies, free bowling and skating, and a glossy visitor’s guide. Better still, you won’t be wasting time standing in a neverending queue when you could be out enjoying yourself – with a pass you just skip straight to the front of the queue. They also have some fantastic discounts on dozens of hit West End Theatre shows like the Lion King, Les Miserables, Billy Elliot and other must-see performances.

Click here to visit the Attractiontix website.

Get an Oystercard and enjoy cheap bus and tube journeys
Walking is a great way to see London, and you’ll find that Central London is actually pretty easy on foot, with lots of points of interest and places to stop for a bite to eat. You could even take some guided walks with London Walks – there is a brilliant Harry Potter walk every Sunday afternoon that your children will love. If you want to go somewhere a bit further afield, by far the easiest and cheapest way to get around is using public transport. If you’re planning to do quite a bit of travel by bus and tube, you should consider getting an Oyster card for each adult in your group and just adding enough credit to get you through the holiday – these smart little cards cost about £2 each (plus your fare) but will not only save you a lot of time and hassle, but they automatically recalculate your fare to make sure it’s the cheapest possible, so you save a lot of money. The £2 isn’t wasted either – you can also keep the card for your next visit to London. Kids under 10 usually travel free on public transport – there are a few odd exceptions which you can read about here.

For those with impaired mobility, baby buggies or lots of suitcases, click here for an accessibility guide showing which stations have step-free access. Planning in advance will make your journey much easier!

There is also an excellent tube map showing all of the public toilets and baby changing facilities on the underground – click here.

Visit some free museums, galleries and attractions
London has some of the most remarkable museums and galleries in the world, and many of them have hands-on exhibits and family activities as well as baby changing facilities and buggy access. Some also have lovely soft play areas for the really little ones. For the most part they are absolutely free, and even have picnic areas for you to enjoy your packed lunch.Click here to read about family friendly museums and attractions.

And finally…
We can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be rained on while in London. It’s part of the charm, really. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do indoors without feeling cooped up – click here for over 100 rainy days out. You’ll thank us!

This guestblog was brought to you by Janis Curry (a.k.a. MumVersusKids), Director & Founder of ReallyKidFriendly.com, the guide to great places for your family.